Republican senators write bill to prohibit Amnesty from receiving funds

"Israel is such an important ally to the United States, and an organization that uses its platform to undermine their sovereignty should not be receiving US taxpayer funds," Sen. Mike Braun said.

 The logo of Amnesty International is seen next to director of Mujeres En Linea Luisa Kislinger, during a news conference to announce the results of an investigation into humans rights abuses committed in Venezuela during protests against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela February 20, 2 (photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS JASSO)
The logo of Amnesty International is seen next to director of Mujeres En Linea Luisa Kislinger, during a news conference to announce the results of an investigation into humans rights abuses committed in Venezuela during protests against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela February 20, 2
(photo credit: REUTERS/CARLOS JASSO)

WASHINGTON – Republican senators Rick Scott (Florida) and Mike Braun (Indiana) have introduced a bill to prohibit Amnesty International from receiving “taxpayer-funded federal assistance and benefits from the United States government.”

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, Amnesty International is ineligible to receive any money or assets from the United States Government,” the bill reads. It also seeks to determine that “any employee of Amnesty International is ineligible to receive any direct financial benefit from the United States Government.”

The two senators said in a statement that “this legislation follows reports that Amnesty International, which has received more than $2.5 million in federal funds over the past two decades, is utilizing its platform as an International Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to foster and disseminate false, antisemitic reports attacking Israel, America’s strongest ally in the Middle East.”

“Amnesty International has proven itself to be a sham of a ‘human rights’ organization that perpetuates antisemitic propaganda and refuses to hold the world’s dangerous and genocidal regimes accountable, like Communist China, Iran, Russia and Venezuela,” Scott said, adding that Paul O’Brien, Amnesty’s US director, said last month: “We are opposed to the idea that Israel should be preserved as a state for the Jewish people.”

“Under no circumstances should American taxpayer dollars subsidize this or any organization that continually acts against US interests and demonizes our great ally, Israel,” Scott said. “My bill will cut off Amnesty International from federal funding and relief programs, and make it abundantly clear that the United States will not support the radical Left’s dangerous anti-Israel agenda. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this important bill.”

US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) huddles on the Senate floor with Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and others (credit: REUTERS)US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) huddles on the Senate floor with Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Senator James Lankford (R-OK), Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and others (credit: REUTERS)

Braun said that Israel is such an important ally to the United States, that nay organization “that uses its platform to undermine their sovereignty should not be receiving US taxpayer funds.”

O’Brien rejected a 2020 survey conducted by the Ruderman Family Foundation that found eight in 10 Jewish Americans identify as “pro-Israel,” and two-thirds feel emotionally “attached” or “very attached” to the Jewish state, the Jewish Insider news site reported in March.

“I actually don’t believe that to be true,” O’Brien said regarding those figures, the report quoted him as saying. “I believe my gut tells me that what Jewish people in this country want is to know that there’s a sanctuary that is a safe and sustainable place that the Jews, the Jewish people, can call home.”

In response, all 25 Jewish Democratic congressional representatives issued a statement rejecting his remarks.

“As Jewish members of the House of Representatives, we represent diverse views on a number of issues relating to Israel,” they wrote. “However, we are in full agreement that Mr. O’Brien’s patronizing attempt to speak on behalf of the American Jewish community is alarming and deeply offensive. He has added his name to the list of those who, across centuries, have tried to deny and usurp the Jewish people’s independent agency. We stand united in condemning this and any antisemitic attempt to deny the Jewish people control of their own destiny.”

The American Jewish Congress sent a letter to Amnesty International last week, calling for the dismissal of O’Brien as head of its American branch. On April 4, the AJC, along with 749 petition signatories, submitted a letter to Amnesty International USA’s board of directors.

“It would be shameful to see an organization like Amnesty, which claims that its core values include impartiality and mutual respect, failing to extend that kind of consideration to the Jewish community,” wrote AJCongress President Jack Rosen. “Paul O’Brien’s comments were clearly biased, offensive and antisemitic. Amnesty cannot justify and rationalize those comments. It cannot and should not try to gaslight the Jewish community.”